NASA Johnson Space Center recently hosted the newest PBS Kids Star, Jet Propulsion, of Ready Jet GO! an alien from outer space who’s into astronomy, scientific exploration and invention with his new neighborhood friends.
Houston families got to meet him up close and personal, catch the latest shows and talk with creator, Craig Bartlett about his inspiration for creating this latest show.
“The message I want kids to get is that space is really cool. “ said Bartlett. “What’s more important is kids needing to have a connection with the Earth. It’s pretty easy for a modern kid not to out in the world climbing a tree or out in the woods, they are more likely inside playing a video games or devices.”
Ready Jet Go! is based on science curriculum, but makes it fun for kids. “If we want to stay competitive in the world of science, we have to start very early and get kids to realize how fun science is,” said Bartlett. That is the premise for the show. Everybody is a scientist in the town of Boxwood Terrace. This town is built around a “NASA like” facility where everyone is involved in science in some way. That includes curiosity, imagination and the cooperation of the foursome working as a team to accomplish a goal.
Team work is science behavior and, last but not least, not being afraid of failure. Bartlett worked closely with Dr. Amy Mainzer, astronomer and curriculum advisor during the making of the program. He learned that a really important element of science is failing and trying again. “They say, one quote that I really like is ‘ it’s not failure, it’s just data collection,'” said Bartlett. “It’s an important message to encourage kids not be afraid to fail.”
In the series, Jet has a DON’T GIVE UP DAY where his sings a little song, “ if you try and make a mess, who cares if it’s not a success, try again and don’t give up hope…sooner or later you’ll make a telescope” or “ Don’t let failure get you down, you can get that saucer off the ground.”
Bartlett loves the idea that with cartoons in particular, kids love repetition. Every time you see it, Celery is going to do that funny countdown and Sean will try to ask one more nervous question, and off they go!
During the interview, Bartlett divulged that he sees similarities between the main character Jet, and himself. “There is always sort of an autobiographical character at the center of these stories,” said Bartlett. “Arnold was how I felt being a kid and Buddy the T-Rex is really optimistic and doesn’t see how anything can’t work out and a friend to all. And Jet is even more so because Jet won’t shut up, you can’t get him down, he is always optimistic and he’s like the music man always bursting into song. When I was a kid, I thought wouldn’t it be fun if everything was a musical and people were always bursting into son. So I feel like he is the best iteration of my kind of personality that we’ve come up with yet.”
In every show Bartlett has created, there are four main characters. “ There were four siblings, three sisters and me,” said Bartlett. “So in all these shows it’s fun to have four characters in a family.”
Ready Jet Go! is a PBS Kids show. Episodes of Ready Jet Go! can be seen on Houston Public Media TV8 or streaming on the all-new Houston Public Media Kids Page at houstonpublicmedia.org/kids. Episodes can also be found online at pbskids.org or on PBS-affiliated public TV stations and websites.